These observations came to me on the flight back from the 2014 SENG conference in San Jose, California this past weekend. I was there with Gifted Homeschoolers’ Forum and my blogger friends.
If you’ve got a gifted or twice-exceptional (2E) kid and you want to see them have an optimal life experience, then do your best to:
• Meet and love your kid where he or she is right now. As best you can, refrain from judging where you think he or she “ought” to be.
• Recalibrate your metrics about what “successful parenting” looks like. Your kid is different and your approach to nurturing his or her needs may need to be different than existing cultural norms dictate.
• Come to terms with your own eccentricities, residual childhood pain, and regrets–especially if you yourself are gifted. Get therapy for yourself if you need it.
• Find (or make) a group of like-minded parents through schools, organizations, or on your own. This is your tribe. Take care of it. Together, you’ll make it through the best and worst of times.
• Nurture your own gifts and talents. Make your own self-actualization a priority, too.
• Don’t be afraid to improvise solutions when it comes to schooling. Options abound and no one has to stay in one particular model from preschool through the college years
• Acknowledge that while your kid deserves validation of his or her unique strengths, that validation isn’t permission to run roughshod over other people. Good parenting includes teaching good manners.
• Resist the urge to judge your child’s inherent worth (and your own) by academic abilities, artistic accomplishments, or athletic skills.
• Accept that we all swing from equilibrium to disequilibrium as part of personal maturation. Neither of you are perfect; conflict is inevitable. Embrace the messiness of being human.
• Realize that while all children need special attention paid to food, hydration, and good sleep, your gifted/2E kid may need even more help making good choices.
• Free yourself from projecting a particular career or academic path for your child. Instead nurture the fullest, widest range of skills that he or she is capable of through a balance of support and challenge and then place your trust in your child to create the fulfilling life he or she was born to live.
In other words, love and nurture your sweet babies–and then give them room to fly.